By Steve Ramirez, staff writer
LAKE ELSINORE — It took Glendora High School nearly six decades to reach its first CIF-Southern Sectional baseballchampionship game. It proved to be worth the wait. Second basemen Joseph Woodward went 3 for 3 and pitcher Adam Plutko outdueled highly-touted Taijuan Walker and the Tartans won their first CIf-SS title with a 10-3 victory over Yucaipa in the Division 2 title game at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore. (To continue reading, click thread).
CIF-SS Division 2 championship
Score by innings
How they scored:
Yucaipa 1st: Leonard Malfvon singed to center field. He advanced on a sacrifice and scored on a line-drive triple down the left field line by Wyatt Padgett. Glendora’s Adam Plutko got Taijuan Walker and Matt Hardison on groundouts. Yucaipa 1, Gledora 0.
Glendora 2nd: Kyle Layton lead off double to right. Jacob Cage singled to right, Layton beating the throw home, Cage advances to second, 1-1. Brennan Salgado tripled to right center, scoring Cage for a 2-1 lead. Max Shih walked, first and second. Joseph Woodward follows with a single to left, Salgado scoring, 3-1.
Yucaipa 4th: Grady Espinosa hit a one-out triple to center that would have been a homer in any high school park. He scored easily on Alex Morabito’s ground-out to second, trimming the Tartans’ lead to 3-2.
Glendora 4th: Salgado leads off with a walk, followed by Shih, who walks after trying to bunt, then working the count. Yucaipa’s 6-foot-5 pitcher Taijuan Walker comes out of the game, Pedro Cota in to replace him. Joseph Woodward beautiful bunt up third, the throw sails away, Salgado scoring, Shih to third, Woodward to second, still no outs, 4-2. Clinton Harwick comes big, smacking a single to center to drive in Shih and Woodward, Tartans leading 6-2.
Yucaipa 6th: With two outs, Matt Hardison singled, Dallas Alexander running for him. Grady Espinosa singled, putting runners on first and third. On Adam Putko’s pickoff attempt at first, a balk was called, Alexander scoring, Espinosa to second.
Glendora 6th: Clinton Harwick lead single. After a strikeout, John “the best swing in the valley” Alexander drove a double off the wall in left-center, scoring Harwick, 7-3. Winterburn walks, first and second. Layton promptly triples to left-center, driving in Alexander and Winterburn to go up, 9-3. Layton scores on a pass ball, 10-3.
Glendora also got two RBIs each from John Alexander and Kyle Layton.
“It’s just a great accomplishment for a great group of guys,” said Glendora coach Dan Henley, whose team won its final 12 games to finish 27-2-1 and rank among the best in Southern California. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet (winning the first championship). Maybe one
day I can look back and say, ‘Wow! We won the first championship, but really I just so proud of these guys. This is a special group.”
Glendora showed how special, making Walker, who some publications have him going in the first round of these week’s Major League Baseball First-Player Draft, look like just another pitcher.
Glendora, which trailed 1-0 in the first, turned the tide on the Thunderbirds (27-6), scoring three runs in the second and four innings to chase Walker.
“We just sat on his fast ball,” said Woodward, who had three of Glendora’s 12 hits. “He likes to just come at you and go with his fastball, and we were able to take advantage of that.”
Glendora showed it in the second, quickly erasing its early deficit after a lead-off double by Kyle Layton and took a 2-1 following an RBI single by Jacob Cage and a triple by Brennan Salgado. Woodward then singled to make it 3-1.
“You have to be impressed with Glendora,” Yucaipa coach Jeff Stout said. “They are a very good team. They make contact.”
Yucaipa, getting an RBI ground out by Alec Morabito, cut it 3-2 in the fourth. But Glendora countered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to all but put the issue to rest.
Brennan Salgado and Max Shih led off with walks before Woodward beat
out a bunt single. Salgado then scored on a throwing error to make
it 4-2 before a Clinton Harwick two-run single made it 6-2.
“We know that’s our moment,” Salgado said. “Pitchers facing us in the
lower part of the order don’t want to walk us, because then they have
to deal with the big guys up top. We did a good job of taking
advantage of that today.”
Plutko took it from there. The senior, after giving up two hits in
the first inning, gave up just one over the next four innings before
finishing with a five-hitter and three strike outs.
“They started chasing some pitches,” Plutko, who finished 10-1,
including 2-0 in the playoffs, which included a no-hitter in the
quarterfinals. “I saw that, and just went from there.”
Yucaipa made it 6-3 in the sixth before Glendora, getting a key an
RBI double by Alexander and two-run triple by Layton, put the
finishing touches on the championship with four runs in the sixth for
a 10-3 advantage.
Plutko then retired the Thunderbirds in order in the seventh, getting little-used Caleb Nazario on strikes to punctuate Glendora’s victory.
“I just tried to stay focused, like I always do,” Plutko said. “I do
that whether I’m up by one run, or leading by seven in the
championship game. There’s a song like called ‘I have Ice in my
Veins.’ I kept repeating that to myself. ‘I have ice in my veins. I
have ice in my veins,’ and I was able to get the third out.”